Teacher Performance Grants Awarded to Several Local Schools

Indiana Department of EducationEducators at several local schools will receive a share of the $30 million in Teacher Performance Grants awarded by the state to more than 1,300 schools. Funds were given to schools with students earning ISTEP+ or end of course assessment passing scores of 72.5 percent or above or with a growth in graduation rates of 5 percent ore more from the previous year. Teachers who are rated effective or highly effective under Indiana’s teacher evaluation system for the 2013-2014 academic year will be paid based on student performance. Continue reading

Indiana DOE Releases School Grades

 The Indiana Department of Education released the A-F grades for all schools in the state on Wednesday. The release of the grades was delayed after the State Board of Education had received appeals from several schools.

Locally, Knox High School and Knox Elementary School received an A grade, along with Culver Elementary and Middle Schools, the North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School, West Central High School and Elementary School and all three Eastern Pulaski schools.

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Schools Send Waiver to State to Forgive Monday and Tuesday as Missed Days

The state will forgive missed days of school on Monday and Tuesday if a waiver is filed with the Indiana Department of Education.

West Central Schools Superintendent Charles Mellon stated that he has filed the proper paperwork to have Monday and Tuesday forgiven as no school was in session either day. He also included an attachment of a notice sent by Pulaski County officials stating that the county was under a condition on Wednesday where emergency vehicles were the only approved vehicles to be on the roadways.

Mellon hopes that the school’s built in snow days will not need to utilized and the state will approve all three days.

Culver Community Schools will use Monday, Jan. 20 as a make up day for the cancellation of school on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

Schools May Be Able to Waive Snow Makeup Day

Indiana Department of EducationSchools that canceled classes due to the extreme winter conditions may not have to make up the day of missed instruction. “The Elkhart Truth” reports that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has authorized schools to apply for a one-day waiver from the required 180 days of instruction. The waiver was initially offered after school districts across the state canceled classes on Monday. However, the director of the office of accreditation for the education department told the paper that the waiver will be offered to schools on Tuesday as well. He says the waiver means that schools can escape the “very severe financial penalty” they would otherwise incur by canceling one day of instruction. The waiver has only been used a few times in the past several years to offset instructional days lost due to severe weather. School districts typically build in makeup days in the event of snow, but if they miss more days than they have built into the calendar they’re forced to extend the school year into summer vacation in order to meet the state’s requirements.

Local Schools React to ISTEP+ Review

No measurable negative impact occurred after computer glitches interrupted students taking the ISTEP+ test last spring. That’s according to an official review of the testing.

The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment was hired by the Indiana Department of Education to evaluate the validity of the tests.

Oregon-Davis Interim Superintendent Greg Briles argues the point that no measurable impact occurred at his school as 88 students were affected by the interruptions. He explained that O-D is a small school and those numbers are big when compared to larger schools – such as the Knox Community School Corporation. Briles says the impact is not comparing apples to apples.

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ISTEP+ Testing Returns to Normal Levels

Indiana Department of EducationSchools can resume ISTEP+ testing at normal levels today. Officials with the Indiana Department of Education say software vendor CTB McGraw-Hill is confident fixes made to their servers last week will allow for full testing. Problems administering the online test last week prompted state officials to ask schools to administer the test to half of their students at a time. They also extended the testing window for schools until May 17. So far, about 48 percent of total ISTEP+ sessions have been completed. State officials say minimal interruptions were reported Friday.

State Reports Trouble-Free ISTEP Testing

Indiana Department of Education

ISTEP+ testing resumes today in classrooms across the state. No major problems were reported during the administration of ISTEP tests yesterday, according to officials with the Indiana Department of Education. Computer crashes earlier in the week halted the administration of the test. As a workaround, state officials asked schools to cut the number of students testing at a time by half. That reduction continues today, and the department of education has extended the testing window by two additional days. Schools now have until May 17 to finish giving the test. Minimal interruptions were reported yesterday, according to state officials, who say 41 percent of the total expected ISTEP+ sessions have been completed this week. Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz remains committed to working with schools, students and parents to ensure that they have the time they need to guarantee all Hoosier students have the opportunity to take a fair test.